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Hypothetical homestead

 
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Ok so how bout a different angle,

$100,000 in the bank, no loans.

Midwest, zone 5-6 like before
No house/buildings/electric/etc.
Clay-loam

“Make” your own homestead

Open land=$5000/acre
Wooded, mature hardwood  $8000/acre
Anything else?

Spend money as you think best
 
pollinator
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That wouldn't even build me a house/barn/etc. Clearly I have expensive tastes.
 
pollinator
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Assuming I need 1 year to be in a self sufficient status before generating any type of income;

4 acres of open/tillable @$5k = ($20k)
4 acres of wooded       @ $8k = ($32K)

Land = ($52,000)

I will assume the property has a clean spring for potable water. There are a half dozen within a quarter mile of my house. Worst case, rainwater collection in a cistern. This would be the long term plan anyway.

Comfortable shipping container house per my previous design with solar power, rain water collection, and RMH heating: ($30k)

Remaining budget: $18k

Long term: Timber framed cordwood home, partially in ground. Root cellar, sheep or goats for milk and meat, chickens for eggs and meat and income. Rent out the container house a la AirB&B or such.

 
Eric Hanson
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Caleb,

So what do you do with the clear land and what do you do with the woodland?

Assuming 1/4 acre for driveway, building, etc, this leaves 3.75 clear acres.  Personally I would try a 1/2 acre market garden.  I am obsessed about all things woodchips so I would either want to bring in vast quantities or chip up some of my own.  On the last little exercise we tried, I suggested building a massive raised bed 8’x50’, filled with woodchips and wine caps, refilling annually as necessary to replenish chips.  Each year another bed gets built.

How many beds would be needed?
 
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So, in Missouri,, the latest figures I am seeing for averages as of September 2019 are about $5200/acre for good crop land ($5500/acre if irrigated), $2915/acre for pastureland for animals, and timberland was about $2086/acre. http://agebb.missouri.edu/mgt/landsurv/landsurv18.pdf

So, for me, since MO is where I plan to stay, would go for about 20 acres of timberland, for raw materials for a wofati and berm sheds/animal shelters like Sepp builds, $42,000.

$30k for RMH build, machinery and labor/parts/tools/wofati, and maybe see about a shipping container/storm shelter/tool shed, plus a used rv for while building the wofati.

Of the last $28k, $18k would get 6 acres of good pasture for raising a cow/calf pair and maybe a small flock of sheep, plus chickens ala. Joel Salatin style

With that much mature timber I would want to selectively harvest a percentage and replay every year, create a couple glades for edge, and process enough trees to build the wofati, maybe enough with time for a 2nd wofati and look for a permie neighbor/partner/friend to live out there too and be able to help each other. Plenty of things to do with woodlands, such as harvest, split and sell firewood, grow and copice black locust for a renewable fuel/building material source, fruit and nut trees, plant some slow growing but valuable long term investment trees, clear unwanted species for hugelkultur berms. I’m things Wheaton Labs East... ;-) 😈 assuming Paul doesn’t mind...

Leif
 
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Eric Hanson wrote:Ok so how bout a different angle,

$100,000 in the bank, no loans.

Midwest, zone 5-6 like before
No house/buildings/electric/etc.
Clay-loam

“Make” your own homestead

Open land=$5000/acre
Wooded, mature hardwood  $8000/acre
Anything else?

Spend money as you think best



10 acres of mature hardwoods $80,000 (near or bordering state forest preferred)

Woodworking tools gleaned from yard sales and estate sales: $2,000

Build a house like Mr Chickadee on youtube. 0$, but a lot of nice relaxing work.

A mutt from the pound: $25

A good pack basket, Amish Made, $200

So far, $82,225 spent.

Forage for live edible plants, plant and propagate in selected areas as the sort of gardens favored by PNW Indians.

Hunting and Fishing license lifetime: $800

Make bow and arrows.

Make fishing pole with gorge hooks from locust thorns. Line (and bowstring) made from Basswood inner bark.

Catch insects, fish, game, harvest your "wild" edibles. Eat like a king.

$83,025 spent.

Capture wild game in wicker traps, keep in green fencing in the vicinity of the house, breed for livestock.

I can't think of anything else. Just save the rest of the money I guess.
 
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All.

How does the time (hours) budget work out? Considering (guaranteed, absolutely, I promise) delays, down time for you and equipment, carrying costs (eating, vehicles) and winters?


Regards,
Rufus
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Rufus Laggren wrote:All.

How does the time (hours) budget work out? Considering (guaranteed, absolutely, I promise) delays, down time for you and equipment, carrying costs (eating, vehicles) and winters?


Regards,
Rufus



Mine is veerrryy time consuming. But I'm not worried about making money. It's a hunter-gatherer homestead, not a typical homestead. The journey is the object. The work is the object. And I still have a lot of money left over to work with if I need food or a tarp or something.
 
Caleb Mayfield
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Initially half an acre will be devoted to garden, another half to orchard. If I want more orchard I could "clear" some of the forest down the road. Thin out is probably a better term.

That leaves 2.75 open. Two acres will be used to rotationally paddock the livestock. The remaining 0.75 will be for hay to use as hay mulching on the gardens. Based on how things went this year on my own gardens, it may require a full acre to acre and a half of hay to keep a half acre of garden properly mulched. I have vague memories of the 1/4 acre garden my parents put in when I was young. They did a lot of canning every year. At least a quarter acre of garden for food and I really want to try rotational planting of crops to feed the chickens. The other quarter would be a combination of sweet corn, feed corn, wheat, oats, and sunflower.

For the garden I would do combinations of wood chip mounds 4-6 feet wide, and hay mulched beds. I like beds about 25-30 feet long. Depending on the layout, 50 feet might work, but it really has to be laid out well with a good material flow in and out of the garden.  If the land was fairly flat, I'd do a roughly 100' by 200' plot with a main path 10 feet wide right down the middle, beds 45' long and 6 feet wide with a 4 foot path between them for good access to each bed with a cart/wheelbarrow for taking mulch compost in and bringing crops out to the central lane that you can drive a tractor or truck down. Market Gardening could be a good income source in the right area.




 
Eric Hanson
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Note to all,

This is all just a mental exercise and I see several variations of the original going at the same time.  I say this is all good.  We can respond to each other’s plans.

Leif,  I was just randomly throwing out land value figures based on land prices I have seen.  Thanks for fact checking me!  Maybe at some future time we can use your figures in another thought experiment.  Or heck, throw out one of your own based own ideas.

Eric
 
Leif Ing
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Eric, I’ve started looking into land prices more seriously here in MO, that’s why I went to see what “good” rated land was. Personally, I am more interested in hilly, wooded land than anything approaching good agricultural land... I am not in a hurry to buy land, so am willing to wait and hunt for the right property at the right price. Other states may well charge more for land, I believe it. :)

Heck, I just hope that when I am able to get a decent sized chunk of land, I’ll have permie friends nearby for community! :)
 
Eric Hanson
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Ryan,

Ahhh, I like the way you think!  Buy the land next to land that can’t be developed.  I am pretty close to this now, but I will explain later.

So 10 acres of wooded land.  Would you cut down any?  I have about 3-4 acres of mature hardwood.  I can’t possibly see myself cutting any down.  I just can’t do it!

But in this situation where you have 8 acres of hardwood adjacent to much more, I have to ask about clearing maybe 1/2 acre?  Just enough to plant a good garden.  Maybe 1/4 acre?  Use the wood for hugel mounds, wood chip beds, lumber, firewood, etc?

I like your live-off-the-land approach.  Further, I like your hunter/trapper ideal.  I just wonder if you want some vegetables in there too.

If I were to condense all my gardening needs to as small a possible list as I could, I would want to plant the following:

Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Tomatoes
Peas
Green beans
Summer squash
Winter squash
Salad greens

I thought this list gives a good amount of food per unit area and includes legumes to help replenish soil.  Of course, being me I would add in mushrooms wherever I could squeeze them.

So what do you think?  Some very minimal clearing for vegetables?

Eric
 
Eric Hanson
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Lief,

I like your idea of rolling, wooded land and not prime crop land.  Would you want a small amount of clear land for gardening?  I too love wooded land, but I also recognize the need for direct sunlight on the ground.

Eric
 
Eric Hanson
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Caleb,

I like your approach of having equal amounts of clear and wooded land.  My personal problem is that I cannot bring myself to cut it!  I just can’t do it.  I mean maybe one or two trees and no problem clearing a little underbrush, but right now I have an issue right at the edge of my woods where I have juvenile oak and hickory trees 30-40 feet tall, but their trunks are under 6” in diameter and the trees are under 12” apart!  

Really, I need to thin them, but I just can’t do it!  I could really use the trees as I really need some more wood chips and oak would be wonderful.

ARRGH!!!


Eric
 
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:

Forage for live edible plants, plant and propagate in selected areas as the sort of gardens favored by PNW Indians.

Hunting and Fishing license lifetime: $800

Make bow and arrows.

Make fishing pole with gorge hooks from locust thorns. Line (and bowstring) made from Basswood inner bark.

Catch insects, fish, game, harvest your "wild" edibles. Eat like a king.  



I love your plan.  How will you pay property taxes?  
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Eric Hanson wrote:Ryan,

Ahhh, I like the way you think!  Buy the land next to land that can’t be developed.  I am pretty close to this now, but I will explain later.

So 10 acres of wooded land.  Would you cut down any?  I have about 3-4 acres of mature hardwood.  I can’t possibly see myself cutting any down.  I just can’t do it!

But in this situation where you have 8 acres of hardwood adjacent to much more, I have to ask about clearing maybe 1/2 acre?  Just enough to plant a good garden.  Maybe 1/4 acre?  Use the wood for hugel mounds, wood chip beds, lumber, firewood, etc?

I like your live-off-the-land approach.  Further, I like your hunter/trapper ideal.  I just wonder if you want some vegetables in there too.

If I were to condense all my gardening needs to as small a possible list as I could, I would want to plant the following:

Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Tomatoes
Peas
Green beans
Summer squash
Winter squash
Salad greens

I thought this list gives a good amount of food per unit area and includes legumes to help replenish soil.  Of course, being me I would add in mushrooms wherever I could squeeze them.

So what do you think?  Some very minimal clearing for vegetables?

Eric



The only clearing would be for trees to build the house. You can plant potatoes, onions, and peppers in a forest without clearing the trees. That would give you seasoning and a starchy tuber. But I already forage a lot. I'm currently mapping out Shawnee State Forest to see where everything is. I have permission to collect seeds and non-root parts of plants and plan to integrate wild local food into my food forest from seed and cuttings. I have located black walnut, pawpaw, mayapple, oak, maple, and wood sorrel. I collected Goldenrod and Black Walnut seed. The goldenrod is not edible, but it is useful, so I collected some. There is already wood sorrel on my land.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Ryan Hobbs wrote:

Forage for live edible plants, plant and propagate in selected areas as the sort of gardens favored by PNW Indians.

Hunting and Fishing license lifetime: $800

Make bow and arrows.

Make fishing pole with gorge hooks from locust thorns. Line (and bowstring) made from Basswood inner bark.

Catch insects, fish, game, harvest your "wild" edibles. Eat like a king.  



I love your plan.  How will you pay property taxes?  



Sell primitive pottery, baskets, and wood carvings on the roadside every saturday. I forgot to mention that.
 
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elle sagenev wrote:That wouldn't even build me a house/barn/etc. Clearly I have expensive tastes.



I do not have expensive tastes, but I must be spoiled, that list sounded like my 7th circle of hell. Clay Loam? Yikes!!!
 
Eric Hanson
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Travis,

What type of soil do you have in Maine?  Clay & Loam soils are very common in the Midwest.  I was aiming for a good but not perfect type of soil.  I generally think of mollisols as the best type of soils, which are usually Loam.  Clay-loan, like my alfisol is not bad, but could use a bit of organic matter.

Eric
 
Travis Johnson
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Eric Hanson wrote:Travis,

What type of soil do you have in Maine?  Clay & Loam soils are very common in the Midwest.  I was aiming for a good but not perfect type of soil.  I generally think of mollisols as the best type of soils, which are usually Loam.  Clay-loan, like my alfisol is not bad, but could use a bit of organic matter.

Eric



I have gravelly-loam. It is great for potatoes, but sucks outright for carrots!

You do not have to change your situation for me though, I am just not sure how I would deal with clay? But keep in mind, thick-sodded clay was the reason John Deere came up with his first plow in 1838, the plows and plow designs from "back east" just did not work.
 
Eric Hanson
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Travis,

How very interesting.  Yes, I know about the JD plow.  Living in Illinois, this is one of those topics drilled into our minds at a young age.

But it blows my mind a little that you see gravel soil as a good thing.  I am not criticizing, I just grew up on the legendary soil fertility of typical Midwestern black Loam soils!  6’ thick at least in my native central Illinois.  

I now live in Southern Illinois, a place within the boundaries of Illinois yet a world apart.  My property was never glaciated.  We still have ancient hills.  The land used to be almost 100% forested and today is still dominated by tree cover.  The soil is predominantly heavy, brown clay.  Though our governors always hale from Chicago, this area is lost in time and 300+ miles from the city that everyone associates with the state.  

I digress, but my point remains.  I always thought of rocks as being bad for garden soil.  I have only encountered 1 in my ground.  We have to loosen the clay for root crops, but that is a part of gardening.

Eric
 
Travis Johnson
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Interesting discussion Eric...

I am not sure exactly where you are from of course, and I do not need to know by any means, but I do know Illinois is a big state, and having worked for the railroad, if you are anywhere near a railroad track, I have probably been there. For instance, I did a lot of work in Cairo, Illinois, and worked the bridge over the Mississippi River going from Metropolis Illinois to Paducah, Kentucky if you know where that bridge is. So I do know your area somewhat!

As for soil, the town I live in has the most fertile soil in the State of Maine interestingly enough, BUT that does not mean even the best soil in the State is great! As I have always said, my forefather's might have stuck it out here for 300 years, but it does not mean we were smart. Some of my family went west because busting soil was a lot easier out west. A great example is my Great Uncle Callwallander Washburn, if you read General Mill's website, the company in which he founded, they cite "the rocky fields of Maine" as being their actual start. How true.

But rocks can be immensely beneficial in the garden. It absolutely sucks for the farmer to work around, work with, and goodness knows seed does not grow on rocks, BUT on a cool morning in the summer, flip a rock over and you will see its benefit readily. Rocks retain moisture in the soil if the ratio of rocks to soil is proper. It kind of sucks having so many rocks in Maine, but we do not have to irrigate either.

What makes the soil here the best in the state, and best for potatoes is around the gravel is loam, not just dirt. This combination means water moves THROUGH the soil readily. The potatoes do not rot in the field, and yet they have loam in which to grow...gravelly loam. Add in that potatoes like low PH soil, which is what we have, but like lots of potash and phosphorous, and that is why they do well here.

One other benefit of having gravelly soil is that we can instantly get back on the fields. We will have a huge rain storm, and yet the next day we can get on our tractors and farm. That is because the water moves through the soil, it is not muddy in other words.

 
Ryan Hobbs
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Eric Hanson wrote:Travis,

How very interesting.  Yes, I know about the JD plow.  Living in Illinois, this is one of those topics drilled into our minds at a young age.

But it blows my mind a little that you see gravel soil as a good thing.  I am not criticizing, I just grew up on the legendary soil fertility of typical Midwestern black Loam soils!  6’ thick at least in my native central Illinois.  

I now live in Southern Illinois, a place within the boundaries of Illinois yet a world apart.  My property was never glaciated.  We still have ancient hills.  The land used to be almost 100% forested and today is still dominated by tree cover.  The soil is predominantly heavy, brown clay.  Though our governors always hale from Chicago, this area is lost in time and 300+ miles from the city that everyone associates with the state.  

I digress, but my point remains.  I always thought of rocks as being bad for garden soil.  I have only encountered 1 in my ground.  We have to loosen the clay for root crops, but that is a part of gardening.

Eric



I have a hard time finding rocks here in the Ohio River Valley. So far, the only rock I found was a chert spear point, and some pebbles in a deep hole. My area was also never glaciated. The soil in my fields is loess, very fine with some clay, but mostly just fine minerals. The subsoil is white, likely weathered from quartz-containing rock as there is little calcium. The topsoil is about 1 foot thick and is reddish brown. I have a spring in the middle of my food forest, and I'm considering either developing it into another pond, or planting the boggy ground with bearberries and cranberries. As a shallow pond, it might be nice for cattails, rivercane, and wild rice. The big pond out back is prime for lotus and arrowroot.
 
Eric Hanson
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Travis,

I live not terribly far from either Cairo or Metropolis!  I have traveled that bridge you worked many times!  Did you ever get any north of either city?  The reason I ask is that if you did, chances are you crossed over/through at least some portion of the Shawnee National Forest, one of the smallest national forests at around 750,000 acres, but a beauty nonetheless.

I actually live at the very northern edge of the forest.  In the river area you were at, you no doubt saw low land mud.  Go just a bit further north into the hills where I live and the soil is clay, but a bit better than you probably saw in the extensive flood plains.

You are right about Illinois.  If you made a list of all the states and put them is size order, starting with Rhode Island at the smallest and Alaska as the largest, Illinois would be right smack in the middle at over 350 miles from north to south.  I grew up near Blooming Illinois, right at the center of the state and I live near Carbondale, in Southern Illinois.  

Locally we always capitalize the “S” in Southern Illinois because we think of the area not as an extension of Illinois, but rather a region unto itself.  I imagine a similar phenomenon happens in western Massachusetts, Northern California and Upstate New York.

Travis, always pleased to find out someone else has been to my little section of the woods!

Eric
 
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It was kind of a crazy railroading thing we were doing.

At least at the time, the UPS was trying to compete with Federal Express who has a terminal in Memphis. We were working on the Illinois Central and so UPS was bringing a Hot Shot train out of Chicago every night, and it only had 12 hours to get to Memphis. IF there was more than a few slow orders (bad sections in the track where they had to slow up) they could not get there in time. So our job was to run up and down the track fixing these areas. We traveled ALL OVER the area. Of course we might only be there for a few hours, but we traveled a lot!

But this was back in 2004, so quite a few years ago. But I will never forget the area, I got a tattoo there, and had Thanksgiving 2004 at the Golden Coral there in Metropolis!

A funny side note, I traveled for the railroad so much (globally) that a friend who lived in Goshen, Ind once asked me to "stop in when I was close by next time". Within the week I was in Lima, Ohio so I stopped in and we had lunch. He was floored that it only took me a week to take him up on his offer.

Here is proof I have been close to where you live. This is that Paducah-Metropolis Railroad Bridge from the bridge...
Metropolis-Bridge-3.jpg
railroad bridge
railroad bridge
 
Ryan Hobbs
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New Puzzle at https://permies.com/t/129691/Hypothetical-Homestead-III
 
Caleb Mayfield
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Eric Hanson wrote:Caleb,

I like your approach of having equal amounts of clear and wooded land.  My personal problem is that I cannot bring myself to cut it!  I just can’t do it.  I mean maybe one or two trees and no problem clearing a little underbrush, but right now I have an issue right at the edge of my woods where I have juvenile oak and hickory trees 30-40 feet tall, but their trunks are under 6” in diameter and the trees are under 12” apart!  

Really, I need to thin them, but I just can’t do it!  I could really use the trees as I really need some more wood chips and oak would be wonderful.

ARRGH!!!


Eric



The struggle is real.
I took a walk last night about dusk and walked a section of woods that surrounds where I hope to build a home some day. A LOT of trees in there I need to take down because they are dead/dying. Many more that had me debating what to do. One really nice oak tree that has a hickory growing up right under it. The oak is nice except where high winds snapped the top out of it, so its days are already numbered. The hickory is only 5"-6" in diameter, but it is stunted where it gets to the lower oak branches. The top looks like it just curled right over and didn't grow out more that 3-4 feet. I'd love to take out the oak and let the hickory keep going, but it's already stunted and I'm not sure I can get the oak out without damaging the hickory.

Lots and lots of scenarios like that in that section of woods.
 
Eric Hanson
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Caleb,

It’s hard for me to cut trees, but I know it’s occasionally necessary.  When I go looking for chipping material, I get a bit more creative.  I have a nearby neighbor with 40 solid wooded acres.  The problem with these wooded acres is that much is presently overdense.  Oak trees stand 40’ tall, yet have 6” trunks because they are planted sometimes only 2’ apart.  At times I would like to offer to help him thin a small portion by taking maybe 1/4 of the trees out of maybe 1/2 acre just as a test.

In reality, these overdense areas probably need 3/4 trees cut to allow the crown to spread and get some better health to the stand.  This makes logical sense, but it is still hard for me to pull the trigger.

I actually have a similar situation on my own land.  The edge of my woods has numerous oaks and hickories that are too close.  Again, these are 30-40’ tall trees with narrow trunck in some places less than 12” between the trunks!  It is almost a wall of wooden trunks.

I really need to thin these and might well do so this winter, but it is hard for me to do so.

Eric
 
pollinator
Posts: 2871
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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0.25 acre house plot
0.75 acre garden (bio-intensive carbon farming, cost = 1k)
0.5 acre chicken plot (possible grain-fed sheep too, cost = 1k)
0.5 acre fish pond (could be 1 big pond or a series of smaller pond for $3k)
1 acre orchard (180 trees at 15ft centers at $30/tree for $5,400)
(Sub-total = $25.4k)

Septic = $2k
Well = $4k
Electric = $3k for 10kw propane generator
Propane = $1k for 1000gal tank
(subtotal = $10k)

ERV = $1k
A/C = $3k
Radiant Heating = $3k
Tankless Water Heater = $1k
Plumbing = $1k
Electrical = $4k
Laundry/Mech Room = $3k
Bathroom = $3k
Kitchen = $5k
(subtotal = $24k)

House Shell = $40k

Optional
Solar Electric = $27k for solar (10kw panel, 11kw inverter, 20kwh battery)
Silvo-Pasture = $30k for 6acres
 
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